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updated: 4/1/2014 5:25 PM

Illinois House OKs concussion prevention training for coaches

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  • Carol Sente

      Carol Sente

 
By Zachary White
zwhite@dailyherald.com

SPRINGFIELD -- A suburban Democrat's push to create an online certification to teach high school sports coaches about concussions was approved by the Illinois House Tuesday.

State Rep. Carol Sente, a Vernon Hills Democrat, said she wants to reduce the risks of concussions and hits that might not cause concussions but can cause brain damage if suffered repeatedly.

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"Kids are dying from concussions and sub-concussive hits, and they're suffering from an injury," Sente said.

Football in particular has seen increased scrutiny nationwide as retired NFL players come forward to tell stories of memory loss and other brain problems. Sente's plan would require the IHSA to set up concussion certification for high school coaches of all sports.

But the plan raised objections from some lawmakers that the state is taking too much control, as the IHSA could have put the rule into effect on its own.

"This is good stuff, no question, but I wonder sometimes if we really are becoming the nanny state that some think we are," state Rep. Ron Sandack, a Downers Grove Republican, said.

Some lawmakers see the certification requirement as a good move to get more attention on high school athletes who may not want to leave a game despite an injury.

"When they get hit in the head they want to get back into the game, that's what they do," state Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat, said.

Sente's plan stems from one last year where she sought to limit tackling in football practice. The move faced opposition and evolved into the one approved by the Illinois House by a 102-11 vote.

It now moves to the Illinois Senate.

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